« I Guess This Doesn't Suck After All »

Last week was spent stripping my kitchen of its cupboard doors and refinishing them and repainting the entire kitchen itself. It was something I had on the work sheet for over two years since my grandmother died in early 2001. The cabinets had been in her favorite color: yellow. Two tones of the stuff. Everyone who has lived here since (I’m on roommates six and seven now) has not liked the yellow but was too unmotivated for whatever reason to help me do anything about it. Now with the Gus and Sara, it's been a breeze getting stuff done because all three of us feel like making something of the place. I have my first female roommate in over five years now, and she is really motivated to see the place become home like and livable. After two and a half years of guys who don’t give a shit, that is a blast of fresh air. Hey, imagine always having to make decisions and do all the work yourself then imagine coming home from work one day to find some work is getting done on its own. It is nice to see some interest in the place come from someone other than myself, for a change. Gus the Greek is a hard worker and a great guy who wants to see this place take on the role of “home” too. I want to make the distinction between home and house. All the other people here but for one (the one that later tried to steal from me in the end) have been pretty much the garden variety young male roommates who don’t attach themselves to the place beyond a living space in exchange for some money. But this place is some place I grew up in, and in more recent years, have put a lot of work into. It's hard to keep it up, mostly as far as energy goes, and it's harder when no one helps. I really had to get people in here who would be more respectful and motivated to make it a place to really enjoy. So far, I have been totally jazzed on the fact that some strangers have come in and wanted to make it their own as much as I have. It means a lot to me after some years of the opposite. I’m not into all that feng shui stuff. I just think I’m done with the gross imbalance that has been my domestic life in the last few years.

I was going to say something about how it was 20 years ago that I first started to learn to play drums (with a hiatus for about four or five years in the late 80s). That may or may not be important. What I would like to say is that, now, 20 years after I was beginning to learn my first rock beats, it comes full circle. I played drums on Come and Get It for a Badfinger tribute CD arising out of an online Roland VS recorder group I used to haunt. My buddy and mentor figure Doug Robinson had me over to do studio work several times in the summer before and after I quit music in July. One day, he suggested we play some Badfinger tune, and that I play guitar on it. Well, two things happened: First I felt way inadequate to play guitar, then we found the song actually didn’t have guitar on it at all! So I went to the old standby, suggesting I play drums on it. We cut it in about three rehearsals with Doug on piano and me on his funky and vibey old sounding jazz kit that just got the Ringo feel happening in me. We recorded drums and piano in one room and in one take, with some seemingly random fixes punched in to put some more specific drum fills in (clearly audible if you listen for it, but mostly masked even to me who thought we should do it all over, but Doug persisted in leaving it sort of a hasty job with such human flaws so readily apparent). Then we did the percussion in one pass and he did bass. He sent that recording to a buddy who did the huge multitracked vocals. Doug got the tracks back to his place and mixed them (with a little contribution from me in the form of the warbly effect on his grand piano to simulate the Lennonesque detuned honky tonk piano tone on the original. Paul Horn, drummer in the TAPKAE band for about eight months, gave me props for hitting the feel right on. It's funny, after all the prog rock I have been so keen on, the stuff I still do best is the simple stuff, sort of like the stuff I learned at the very beginning. I don’t have to read it off a page anymore though.

Man, I just want to say how much I love Jethro Tull. I got the Heavy Horses remaster and it just shimmers like a jewel. It took me a long time to really like that album but more and more I find it one of the finest Tull releases ever. I like most all of the ‘77-’87 period best, ironically some of that is least liked by hardcore fans, but I say, hey! Tull is just the beacon for me in music. They are so unlike any other band, as far as I care. Sometimes I feel a little guilty for fallng back on Tull so much, but what can I say? They just come up with the goods for me. Ian Anderson finally made the really cool acoustic solo album he was always expected to make. Rupi’s Dance is really nice music overall. So far there is no tune that turned me off musically. The only bummer is that he can’t sing like he used to up till 1984. He can’t just go for it nearly as much as he used to. His instrumentals are as good as anything he ever did though. Ian is, to me, brilliant. This CD has him doing a lot of instrumental parts from the expected guitar and flute to accordion, bass, piccolo, mandolin and percussion. He has long been an inspiration for me.

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